In an episode of Downton Abbey, Lady Edith is left at the altar, creating a life-changing, character-shaping moment. She must endures the pain of loss hopes and dreams, but the dramatic events have an audience which makes her humiliation public. She retreats to the safety of her bedroom after fleeing the heartbreak and shame.
The next morning, one of the maids asks if she’d like breakfast brought to her. Her reply is a memorable line in the series: “I’m a useful spinster, good at helping out. That is my role. And spinsters get up for breakfast.”
Even if we aren’t jilted, there may come moments in the midst of great difficulties when all we want to do is stay in the safety of our bed. Let the world go on without us, we think, because we cannot imagine a new, better one than the one that just broke apart which is causing us much pain.
The past several years have been exceptionally difficult for me, and the last 72 hours among the most challenging. This morning my inclination was to keep the drapes closed, the room dark, and remain in bed. The scene about Lady Edith from Downton Abbey kept coming to mind. Despite the hardships, I needed to get up, have breakfast and face the day.
I may move slowly today, but the fact is that I’m taking care of one thing, then another. To paraphrase Edith: I’m a useful person, good at doing many things, including overcoming loss and set backs, and helping out where I can. That is part of my role as a human. And I get up for breakfast.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9